cover image NEW NORMAL: Great Opportunities in a Time of Great Risk

NEW NORMAL: Great Opportunities in a Time of Great Risk

Roger McNamee, with David Diamond. . Portfolio, $24.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-1-59184-059-6

For Silicon Valley venture capitalist and club-touring rock musician McNamee, the title's state of affairs means "[s]afety nets have been replaced by new possibilities" and that "[t]he New Normal will reward the brave." Each of 18 short chapters covers areas where money, individuals and regulations intersect (government, finance, media, education, family, etc.), giving a rough picture of what current conditions are like and how one might maximize one's investments within them: "In the New Normal, the happiest people will be those that optimize their lives across multiple dimensions," McNamee notes in the chapter on family. Most chapters consist of just a few pages, onto which McNamee has uploaded rifflike distillations of truisms he steers by—the proliferation of digital media means that technologies that organize it (like TiVO) will have lots of niche opportunities—and case studies in entrepreneurship, as of the online diamond engagement ring retailer Blue Nile. His declarative quips (many of which begin "In the New Normal...") are glib and annoying, but are usually followed up with at least some substantive discussion, as in a chapter on time ("it is more important to be right than to be early"). As a road map of the post–New Economy economy, this book can feel as scattered and emptily assertive as the late '90s, but its core message—that new conditions mean new opportunities for entrepreneurs—remains as true as ever. Agent, Kelli Jerome. (On sale Nov. 18)